In this, however, he was mistaken, for although they told him all they knew, that amounted to so little as really not to be worth the learning.
They informed him that they had been engaged all in the last week, and that they knew nothing of the baron whatever, or where he came from, or what he was, excepting that he paid them most liberal wages, and was not very exacting in the service he required of them.
This was very unsatisfactory, and when the landlord started on a mission, which he considered himself bound to perform, to a Mr. Leek, in the town, who had the letting of Anderbury-on-the-Mount, he was quite vexed to think what a small amount of information he was able to carry to him.
“I can tell him,” he said to himself as he went quickly towards the agent’s residence; “I can tell him the baron’s name, and that in the morning he wants to look at Anderbury-on-the-Mount; but that’s all I know of him, except that he is a most extraordinary man—indeed, the most extraordinary that I ever came near.”
Mr. Leek, the house agent, notwithstanding the deficiency of the facts contained in the landlord’s statement, was well enough satisfied to hear that any one of apparent wealth was inquiring after the large premises to let, for, as he said truly to the landlord,—
“The commission on letting and receiving the rentals of such a property is no joke to me.”
“Precisely,” said the landlord. “I thought it was better to come and tell you at once, for there can be no doubt that he is enormously rich.”
“If that be satisfactorily proved, it’s of no consequence what he is, or who he is, and you may depend I shall be round to the inn early in the morning to attend upon him; and in that case, perhaps, if you have any conversation with him, you will be so good as to mention that I will show him over the premises at his own hour, and you shall not be forgotten, you may depend, if any arrangement is actually come to. It will be just as well for you to tell him what a nice property it is, and that it is to be let for eight hundred a year, or sold outright for eight thousand pounds.”
“I will, you may depend, Mr. Leek. A most extraordinary man you will find him; not the handsomest in the world, I can tell you, but handsome is as handsome does, say I; and, if he takes Anderbury-on-the-Mount, I have no doubt but he will spend a lot of money in the neighbourhood, and we shall all be the better of that, of course, as you well know, sir.”
This then was thoroughly agreed upon between these high contracting powers, and the landlord returned home very well satisfied, indeed, with the position in which he had put the affair, and resolved upon urging on the baron, as far as it lay within his power so to do, to establish himself in the neighbourhood, and to allow him to be purveyor-in-general to his household, which, if the baron continued in his liberal humour, would be unquestionably a very pleasant post to occupy.